2020 ​Toyota GR Yaris to make UK debut this week

The exciting new Toyota GR Yaris will make an appearance at selected UK dealerships from this Saturday

Launched as a homologation model for the firm’s 2021 WRC contender, the new Toyota GR Yaris is perhaps one of the most exciting performance machines of the year. Powered by a bespoke three-cylinder turbocharged engine with a lightweight all-wheel-drive system, and a lower, wider and stiffer body than the standard Yaris, it will set you back from £29,995.

Revealed at the start of 2020 as the second model in Toyota’s high-performance Gazoo Racing range, first examples will hit UK roads in October. Ahead of first deliveries, however, the model is embarking on a UK dealership tour beginning on Saturday 18 July, allowing prospective buyers to see it in the metal. Four locations in London and the south east have been confirmed. However, more will be revealed in due course.

> Click here for our review of the Toyota GR Yaris prototype 

Powertrain and chassis

Powering the GR Yaris is an all-new, bespoke 1618cc turbocharged three-cylinder engine that is mounted lower down and further back than in standard Yaris models. The unit features a part-machined intake port, four valves per cylinder and a single-scroll turbocharger. Peak power is quoted at 257bhp, with torque rated at 266lb ft. These outputs make the GR Yaris the most powerful three-cylinder model in the world. Toyota quotes a 0-62mph time of 5.5sec and an electronically limited top speed of 143mph.

Power is transmitted via a six-speed manual transmission (there is no automatic or dual-clutch option available) to a four-wheel-drive system that distributes torque between the axles via a central coupling, as opposed to an on-demand Haldex-style system as found in other small all-wheel-drive hot hatchbacks such as the late Audi S1. Torque split between the axles is variable depending on a selected driver mode, with Normal, Sport and Track modes dividing drive 60:40, 30:70 and 50:50 respectively.

> 250bhp Toyota GR Corolla hot hatch in the pipeline

GR Yarises fitted with the optional Circuit Pack include Torsen limited-slip differentials on both front and rear axles combined with a different set of 18-inch forged alloy wheels wrapped in 225/40 R18 Michelin Super Sport tyres, and a more track-oriented suspension tune.

Despite sharing a name with the standard Yaris hatch, this three-door-only model features a bespoke body that’s significantly wider and 91mm lower than the standard five-door model. The new body has been designed with rallying in mind, with new suspension pick-up points, a wider track and a double-wishbone rear axle all bespoke to the GR Yaris. The body itself incorporates lightweight materials to keep the weight down to 1280kg, with a carbonfibre roof skin and aluminium doors, bonnet and bootlid.

Prices and specifications

Toyota will initially bring the GR Yaris to the UK in two specifications: an entry-level version starting at £29,995, and the even more aggressively specified Circuit Pack costing from £33,495. As standard, all UK cars will feature Ultrasuede-trimmed sport seats, a leather steering wheel, 18-inch alloy wheels, a dual exhaust system and Toyota’s latest infotainment set-up accessed via an eight-inch high-mounted touchscreen. Models featuring the Circuit Pack receive the additional equipment already mentioned.

In Japan’s domestic market, Toyota will also offer the GR Yaris in a stripped-out RC form, which will remove most of the interior’s non-essentials such as the infotainment system and air conditioning. A naturally aspirated, front-wheel-drive RS model will also be available fitted with a CVT transmission, helping to widen the GR’s appeal to buyers, getting it closer to the homologation build number requirements.

Why go to all the effort and expense of re-engineering things such as the roofline and axles for a homologation special? Gazoo Racing’s 2020 Yaris WRC car differs so much from the standard Yaris that this homologation model will need to be produced. In contrast to old Group N WRC rules, which required a limited number of closely related road-going examples to be built in order to comply (think early Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution or Subaru WRX), today’s rules allow a wider chasm between the road and rally versions. However, venture outside these limitations, as Toyota Gazoo Racing has done, and a large production run is required to homologate the race car.

As such, the GR Yaris will not be limited to just a few hundred units. Instead Toyota will need to produce a full 25,000 next year in order to comply with WRC regulations. Order books are open now, and first examples are set to reach UK customers in October.

Recommended

Toyota GR Yaris 2020 review - a true homologation superstar
Toyota Yaris

Toyota GR Yaris 2020 review - a true homologation superstar

Toyota’s new road-going rally special is a great drivers’ car of the type we worried we’d never see again. It’s a little gem.
24 Nov 2020
Mysterious Toyota GR Yaris spied testing at the Nürburgring
Toyota Yaris

Mysterious Toyota GR Yaris spied testing at the Nürburgring

The GR Yaris has yet to hit our roads, but Toyota has something else in mind for its homologation special
13 Oct 2020

Most Popular

TOM’S Racing Toyota GR Yaris revealed – homologation special gains focus
TOM’S Racing Toyota GR Yaris front
Toyota GR Yaris

TOM’S Racing Toyota GR Yaris revealed – homologation special gains focus

Japanese racing outfit TOM’S becomes the latest firm to mod the new Toyota GR Yaris
20 Jan 2021
Cupra Formentor tuned to 365bhp by Abt Sportsline
Abt Cupra Formentor front
Cupra

Cupra Formentor tuned to 365bhp by Abt Sportsline

Cupra’s first bespoke model has been fettled by German tuner Abt Sportsline upping power
21 Jan 2021
Used car deals of the week
Used car deals 21st Jan 2021
Features

Used car deals of the week

We’ve perused the used car pages so you don’t have to. Here’s what caught evo’s fancy this week
21 Jan 2021